By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
For more than four decades, Chick-fil-A Brookwood Village Mall has celebrated its birthday in August.
But not this year. Franchise owner Jerry Cotney announced on Instagram last week that the location will be shutting down July 31, just days before its 47th anniversary.
“We’re going to be closing in about two weeks, and that’s after four-and-a-half decades of serving this community,” Cotney said.
The restaurant welcomed its customers on Aug. 6, 1974.
In a 2018 birthday post on Facebook, location officials noted that its first customers paid less than $1 for a sandwich.
It was the first Alabama location of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy’s Georgia-founded chicken sandwich chain.
Original franchise owner Morris Jackson and his son Rodney Jackson led the Brookwood location for more than 40 years before passing the torch to Cotney, a native of Roanoke and graduate of Birmingham-Southern College.
“It’s been a good run,” Cotney said. “This mall was a thriving place, as many of you remember.”
Brookwood Village, which first opened in 1974, was experiencing a noticeable decline even before the pandemic because of the toll the rise of e-commerce had on brick-and-mortar retail outfits.
In 2020, it had a major exodus as restaurants – including Jason’s Deli, Brio Tuscan Grille and Cocina Superior Grille – as well as Books-A-Million closed.
In October, Colliers International of Alabama and Arlington Properties announced plans to turn the property into a mixed-use development featuring retail and dining space as well as high-end apartments. They went so far as to host public meetings to present their plan to the community.
According to a recent article in the Birmingham Business Journal, the company has since backed out of the deal, and Birmingham-based Fairway Investments has had the property under contract for about three months. According to the article, Fairway–Brookwood LLC was formed April 16 and is registered to Birmingham-based Thompson Development Co. Inc.
In Cotney’s announcement, he said a recent change in ownership of the mall led to the decision to close Chick-fil-A, although he also said the change of ownership is unofficial.
Cotney said the location’s survival has been “no short of a miracle.”
“After being closed last year for five weeks, I really thought we were done,” he said.
Once the mall reopened, business returned and Cotney said it returned to pre-COVID revenue despite the lack of stores in the mall.
“We’re going to look forward to serving you again – not at this location, which is closing at the end of July – but at Cahaba Heights, which is scheduled to open in October,” he said.
The new Chick-fil-A Cahaba Heights will be on Crosshaven Drive between Zaxby’s Chicken Fingers & Buffalo Wings and Milo’s Hamburgers.